Tuesday 8th December 2020
Today Rod asked if it was now time to have cameras in Rideshare vehicles for the safety of drivers and their passengers.
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (11:26): My question today is for Minister Pulford representing the Minister for Public Transport, Ben Carroll. The gig is up. The taxi company known as Uber is just that—just another taxi company. Recent media reports have shown violence committed against their drivers, and there have been difficulties in pursuing charges against these people who have assaulted these drivers. My question, Minister, is: is it not time, for the protection of not only drivers but also the travelling public, that all rideshare vehicles should have cameras fitted?
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business) (11:27): I thank Mr Barton for his question and his ongoing interest in this industry, and I will seek a written response from Mr Carroll for him.
Today Rod asked if it was now time to have cameras in Rideshare vehicles for the safety of drivers and their passengers.
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (11:27): Thank you, Minister. Whilst we address the issue of cameras in commercial passenger vehicles, is it not now time for Victoria to fall in line with other jurisdictions in Australia and have cameras with sound and vision recorded to protect drivers and the travelling public?
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business) (11:28): Again, I will take the opportunity to take that question on notice for Minister Carroll, who will provide a written response.Read More
My constituency question today is for Minister Education.
Anastasia a year 10 student in my electorate contacted my staff to ask, why at present, the Dept. Education and Training restrictions on woodwind, brass and singing, limits school classes to five students per space indoors and 2 metres apart. These restrictions make group music lessons simply infeasible.
I believe this is at odds with the restrictions on other close contact activities such as school camps and contact sports, which have been allowed to go ahead.
Music is an important aspect of education that provides immense benefits for student’s development.
It is so important that we prioritise keeping students engaged and feeling positive amidst the huge challenges of this pandemic. Enabling music lessons will contribute to doing just that.
So the information I seek, what is the COVID safe plan which will facilitate the full return of music education?
Media Release – Project Update: Airport Rail Link Funding Announced – But who will pick up the shortfall?
If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that public ownership would reduce the need for the government to step in and subsidise international corporate giants managing public services in a financial downturnRead More
The Government should be encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles, not introducing a tax that does the complete opposite.Read More
The minority report recognises the struggle of our most vulnerable seniors and students; identifies the need to create an accessible and high-capacity tram network; and the benefits the Free Tram Zone creates for tourism, students, seniors, local residents, and our CBD.Read More
I urge the Andrews Labor government to recognise that it is not the free tram zone that is the problem but an ageing tram network that is poorly managed and lacking accessibility, high-capacity trams and the sufficient collection of data.Read More
Asking for Justice…Rod moved for the government to acknowledge that taxi licences were valuable items of property and to repair the damage of past reforms.Read More
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (10:00): Last Friday I was having a moment of reflection, asking myself many questions after many weeks of personal abuse and asking myself: why am I here? Through that process I was wondering why I am not sitting on a Western Australian beach camped with my dog in my caravan with the bride. Why am I being here? But late in that day I received a text message and I thought, ‘Why won’t they leave me alone?’. But it was a very important text message. It was from a mother called Janet, mother of Alexia. She sent me a copy of a birth certificate. They were so excited because it was an amended birth certificate, something that we did in this Parliament a while ago. That made an old bloke cry, it made me stop thinking about a beach in Western Australia. I want to reflect: I am glad we do this sort of stuff.
Today Rod read in his motion which he will debate in the Upper House tomorrow afternoon.
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I give notice that, on the next day of meeting, I will move —
That this House —
- acknowledges that —
- in 1998, the High Court of Australia determined that a taxi licence was a valuable item of property;
- since the commencement of the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017, the revocation of perpetual Victorian taxi and hire car licences amounted to a compulsory government asset acquisition;
- the revocation of perpetual Victorian taxi and hire car licences for a fraction of their worth constitutes as a breach of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006;
- arbitrary transition assistance payments in lieu of some, but not all, perpetual Victorian taxi and hire car licences was grossly inadequate and unfair;
- the deregulation of the industry in 2017 has —
- created a glut of commercial passenger vehicles on our roads;
- reduced driver income to well below minimum wage;
- threatened the economic viability of the industry;
- caused worsening traffic congestion;
- calls on the Andrews Government to —
(a) accept a financial proposal to properly compensate the industry for the compulsory asset acquisition of all perpetual Victorian taxi and hire car licences;
(b) make adjustments to the commercial passenger vehicle industry structure to better balance market components and end driver exploitation; and
(c) support a recovery plan to build back and move the commercial passenger vehicle industry forward through COVID-19.Read More
This week, Rod asked the Premier about the treatment of Essential Transport Workers.
Thursday 12th November 2020
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:42): My constituency question is for the Premier. Taxi fares in Victoria have not increased since 2014, and there have been a number of reviews. Taxidrivers are essential transport workers, as has been demonstrated during this pandemic. They receive no holiday pay, no sick pay, no superannuation and no maternity leave, and many have been known to work for less than $10 an hour—well below the minimum wage. The Essential Services Commission sets these fares, and it is interesting to note the executives at the Essential Services Commission in the same period have received a pay increase of 24.5 per cent. The information I seek is: what is the justification for this unfair treatment of these essential transport workers?
This Bill proposes significant benefits for the local wildlife—the indigenous flora and fauna—and enables the local community to enjoy, experience and learn about nature in a safe and regulated format.Read More
Rod rose to speak on the Justice Legislation Amendment (Supporting Victims and Other Matters) Bill 2020.
He addressed one aspect of the Bill which was causing distress to those who have lost their loved ones to a horrendous crime – the deceased victims of sexual assault.
Tues 10th November
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (16:44): I rise to speak on the Justice Legislation Amendment (Supporting Victims and Other Matters) Bill 2020. Today I wish to address one aspect of this bill which is causing distress to those who have lost their loved ones to a horrendous crime—the deceased victims of sexual assault.
The current reporting of deceased sexual assault victims is guided by the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act 1958. The current act does not expressly address deceased victims of sexual assault, and it is unclear whether the restrictions apply to deceased victims. The Victorian Law Reform Commission’s report on Contempt of Court acknowledged that protecting a deceased victim’s identity and privacy does not serve the legislation’s purpose. The Judicial Proceedings Reports Act was implemented to prevent the retraumatisation of and to protect the privacy of surviving victims and their families.
Last Friday in granting an order under the act Judge McInerney stated on multiple occasions that in his opinion section 4(1A) of the act does not apply to a deceased person and as such deceased victims of sexual offences can be identified, whilst acknowledging, however, that the Director of Public Prosecutions has a different opinion on this point of law.
The judgement is in line with New South Wales and the United Kingdom, where such laws only apply to alleged victims who are alive. The bill inserts an express legal requirement that a court order must permit the publication of any particulars likely to lead to the identification of a deceased sexual assault victim. This would require grieving families to go to court to explain their reasons for sharing their loved one’s tragedy. Enabling families to speak about their loved ones when they choose and how they choose simply makes sense. It is not correct that you would seek to silence a grieving family wanting to share their story when and if they decide to do so.
In addition, the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act as it was amended in February directly contradicts the Open Courts Act 2013. The current words of ‘particulars likely to lead to the identification’ of a victim is confusing and is a hindrance towards justice. As a society we must acknowledge that without the media reporting we may never have found some perpetrators. With the media’s assistance it took only six days to find Jill Meagher’s killer.
We must also acknowledge that there are families who want to share their stories when they choose, while protecting those families that do not want to have public acknowledgement. When Mr Dixon, father of Eurydice, of his own volition published the name of his deceased daughter he did so in order to remember her, humanise her and incite change in the way we address this crime. Jill Meagher’s mother said this bill is a heartache on all those who have lost their precious ones. We can speak to 10 families and we will get 10 different opinions regarding this bill, and within those families partners will have a different view to mum and dad, brothers and sisters will have a different view to the partner. It is a very, very difficult road we are travelling along.
This is why I have asked the government not to make any changes which will affect the sexual assault victims and their families and, with the sunset clause, to use the next 10 months to consult and get this very difficult situation right. It is my belief that putting families through this twice in a year is too much pain to ask them to endure. It is for this reason I cannot support this bill as it currently stands, and I urge the government to remove the proposed prohibition on naming deceased victims.
The taxi and hire car industry had been knocked down before this pandemic even started. Rod Barton is concerned that COVID-19 will be the nail in the coffin for many of them struggling to survive.
The government’s lack of support for non-employing sole traders has let many fall through the cracks, crippling the taxi and hire car industry.
The future of the industry and livelihoods of these workers depend on a comprehensive and effective recovery plan to move forward. There is so much at stake.
Already it is a struggle for many to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table for their families. Rod Barton believes it is absolutely critical that there is a strategy to relaunch the taxi and hire car industry.
Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria is responsible for outlining the rules and parameters that dictate this industry. This responsibility extends to ensuring the industries survival and creating an action plan to move forward.
This is why Rod Barton asked the Minister for Transport, “what is the CPVV’s plan to relaunch the taxi and hire car industry as we come out of restrictions?”
If the regulator fulfils its role in the economic recovery of this industry, Rod Barton is optimistic that we can give hope to those in this industry who have been doing it tough.
Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan and the Leader of the Transport Matters Party Rod Barton MP:
‘I believe that the regulator has a statutory responsibility to ensure that the taxi and hire car industry has an economic recovery plan as we come out of this pandemic.’